Open your junk mail

By Mir
October 18, 2006
Category Quick Tips

Here’s a quickie for you: Always open your junk mail before you throw it away.

Why? Well, aside from this handy object-lesson about identity theft (moral of the story: shred, shred, shred!), you just never know what you might find in there.

Yesterday I received some mail from Volkswagon. I don’t own a VW, nor do I plan to purchase one. But VW is so desperate for my business, they’re willing to give me a $50 giftcard just for taking a test drive! Thanks, VW!

And here’s a secret: If you take a redemption card like that into a car dealership and tell them you’re not interested in buying, most of the time they’ll fill out the needed information for you without even making you do the test drive (because why waste their time).

What an easy way to make $50, and all because I remembered to open my junk mail. I may use it to buy a shredder.


  1. my boyfriend received a thing about a month ago saying that he had won some certain amount of money from this car dealership, and to call and answer some questions to redeem it. of course we never ended up calling. i was thinking we should have. maybe next time we will. it’s just the fine print always makes everything sound so scammy.

  2. Laura: I would be wary of such an offer, as well. What I received (and the general class of offers to which I’m referring) is a promotion put on by the national headquarters, and doesn’t require any information-gathering.

  3. yeah, the fine print said something about “1 in somerandomhugenumber odds of winning whateveramountwe’won'”…i doubt we’d be so lucky, if it were a genuine legit thing. lol.

    we have a shredder that my boyfriend got free from his work, and i shred everything, and then when i go to take out the trash during the week, i grab a mixed handful of the shreds to put in each bag. that way they’re seperated even further. haha.

  4. Ahem. It’s VolkswagEn.

  5. BB: Whatever. They should try spelling it S-U-B-A-R-U if they want to get me interested. 😉

  6. Hey speaking of shredders, will you recommend a good one? The last two I bought crapped out if I put more than 2 sheets in them. Are those industrial strength ones really worth the money?

  7. For each of the past three years, we’ve gotten a free $50 gift card (two for Target, one a MasterCard) for test-driving a Ford. We always get the invitation near the end of the year, and get the actual gift card in the mail by Valentine’s Day. So in addition to roses and chocolates, I get a small no-guilt spending spree.

  8. Sheryl – I can’t recommend a particular shredder, but YES the industrial ones are worth the money. Anything that lets me shred an old plastic card/CD is worth it to me!

    Everybody – if you’re in a goofy mood, the site that Mir pointed out in this post has a great section called “How much is inside” where they do things like “how much lipstick is there in a tube?” and things like that. Very funny, very geeky. I thought I recognized him 😉

  9. The handy object-lesson you just passed on was just scary. To think that an extremely suspicious credit card application like that was accepted without question…omg. Kinda makes me want to start incinerating my junk mail. After opening it, that is.

    On a similar tangent, my dad called us to say that my husband had received an odd piece of junk mail. That some company had found unclaimed money and would get it for him for a fee. Well, turns out, my husband HAD forgotten about an old bank account and the money DID need to be claimed. BUT…we checked at our current bank and were told to just print out a form from the State Treasurer’s website and send it in to get our money back – for FREE.

    Moral 1 – Not opening our junk mail would have cost us a lot of money.

    Moral 2 – If you find unclaimed property that you need to claim, don’t get scammed by some company that wants to charge you to get it back.

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